The European Mormon Studies Association conference is quickly becoming an important feature on the Mormon Studies calendar. A perusal of this year’s papers might give you some sense of this:
Brian Birch (Utah Valley University, USA)
The “apostasy” meme in Mormonism and the battle over Mormonism’s “Christian” identity.
Grant Underwood (Brigham Young University, USA)
Explored the doctrines of “justification” and “sanctification” in Mormonism and Christianity, paying particular attention to the Lutheran tradition as explored by Mannermaa at Helsinki.
Heikki Räisänen (University of Helsinki, Finland)
Joseph Smith’s revision of the Bible in the tradition of Christian harmonising of biblical inconsistencies.
Followed by a panel discussion with: Brian Birch, Douglas J. Davies, Heikki Räisänen and Grant Underwood (Walter van Beek, moderator). I liked Underwood’s suggestion that Joseph’s revision of the Bible was not an act of over-confidence but rather an admission of weakness: in 1831, Joseph’s only rhetorical/exegetical skill was as a revelator and translator.
Graham Stott (Arab American University, Palestine; member of the Community of Christ)
The martyrdoms at Ammonihah: Alma stayed his hand not to bring about an eschatological “justice,” but rather the destruction of wicked Ammonihah, thus revealing God’s holiness.
Risto Räty (Åbo Akademi University, Finland)
“The Challenges of Latter-day Saint Identity.” Discussed, inter alia, Mormonism’s anthropomorphic God and its shortening of the ontological distance between God and man.
Stephen J. Fleming (University of California at Santa Barbara, USA)
“Magic” (=”Christian folk religion”) was common in England (cf. Mormonism’s English converts).
Douglas J. Davies (Durham University, United Kingdom)
“The Holy Spirit in Latter-day Saint Thought”: the “Spirit” as a Mormon cipher for “emotion.” Why is the Holy Spirit not present at Mormonism’s paradigmatic scenes (Council in Heaven, Garden of Gethsemane, First Vision)?
Ronan James Head (Johns Hopkins University, USA / United Kingdom)
“Mormon Children in the British Classroom: A Survey of Attitudes Towards School-Based Statutory Religious Education.”
Reid L. Neilson (Brigham Young University, USA)
Told the story of Andrew Jenson’s LDS world tour, 1895-1897.
Johnnie Glad (University of Stavanger, Norway; Lutheran minister and former Lutheran missionary)
A discussion of why Mormon missions struggle to retain converts.
Richard Sherlock (Utah State University, USA)
Mormon theology’s very personal God and the importance of personal revelation.
David M. Morris (University of Chichester, United Kingdom)
Modes and methods of Mormon conversions in 19th century England
Kim Östman (Åbo Akademi University, Finland)
“Reactions of Lutheran Clergy to Mormon Proselytizing in Finland, 1875–1889.”
Fred E. Woods (Brigham Young University, USA)
The history of George Ramsden, emigration agent for the Guion Line in Liverpool.
Ron E. Bartholomew (Brigham Young University, USA)
Why was there only minimal contact between Mormon missionaries and other Christian sects in 19th century Bedfordshire?
Dustin J. Eaton (Claremont Graduate University, USA)
Are European missions baptising Europeans?
Walter van Beek (Tilburg University, The Netherlands)
“The Gideon Syndrome in European Mormonism.” How European Mormons have fashioned a Mormon elite.
Michael W. Homer (Utah State Historical Society, USA)
“The Mormon Factor in the Romney Presidential Campaign: U.S. Perspectives.”
Massimo Introvigne (Center for Studies on New Religions, Italy)
“The Mormon Factor in the Romney Presidential Campaign: European Perspectives.”
EMSA is trying hard to carve a niche as a respectable, independent academic forum. It’s looking like we will meet in Italy next August. I highly recommend it.
L-R: Birch, Underwood, van Beek, Davies, Räisänen.